For Female Travelers: Safe Sex while Traveling

By Kach Umandap October 9th, 2015 Posted in Inspiration and Love Stories, Travel Blog 4 Comments

I received a lot of emails asking me about safe sex while traveling, so I just told them the easiest way is simply DON’T DO IT. But let’s face it, that’s not very helpful, so here’s some real safe sex advice! 

But seriously, it’s just like practicing safe sex when you’re back home – you should always PROTECT YOURSELF.

Kach and Jonathan - Pictrip pictorial in London

Note – I am not a health professional, doctor or family planning nurse, but this is a collection of real advice and information which you can find on various websites and from physicians and nurses themselves. I am simply bringing it out into a place where it’s easy to find and talk about openly.

I grew up in a Filipino culture and a nation of Roman Catholicism, so talking about sex was frowned upon, even safe sex. Then I lived in the Middle East for four years, in Muslim countries where pre-marital sex could see you in jail or deport, so little talk of safe sex there either!

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Traveling is different, you’ll meet a lot of different people on the road, the reality is hook-ups are normal, and no one will be judging you – you might not ever see these people again. If you’re solo backpacking, you might have different sexual partners, so you have to protect yourself unless you decide to stay away from these types of activities altogether.

So here are some stories and safe sex tips I can give you from my travel experience and female travelers I’ve met on the road.

1. Always bring Condom

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I shouldn’t have to repeat this over and over again, you must always bring your condom, especially if you’re a girl. Why? Always assume that a stranger who you meet while traveling wants to hook up with you for sex and only sex – Don’t think someone will fall in love with you after 5 minutes of kissing and 2 minutes of talking. Most probably, you’ll meet these kinds of guys in a bar, and most probably he’ll be intoxicated.

I have this story of 3 Canadian guys we’ve met in Hanoi, Vietnam. They were on a gap year – 3 handsome 19-year-old guys traveling around South East Asia and counting the girls they hooked up with. I went on a same Castaway Island tour with them in Ha Long Bay, the infamous party tour for young backpackers – I think I was too old to be in that group. These three guys were starting to flirt with three girls, and they agreed to hook up, but the problem was they didn’t have CONDOMS. They were asking around, and since it was an island, there was no way to buy them from the store. I always have condoms in my bag, and I also gave them to my younger siblings, I’m not pushing them into casual sex, but whatever happens, you should always be safe and protected. Any sex should be safe sex.

So, I traded my condoms for drinks while on the island. They were happy and had safe sex while I was happy and able to save money on drinks! Related Article: List of Best Backpackers Hostels to meet fellow Travelers

Friendly Reminder: No Protection, No Sex!

2. Track your monthly period (Natural Method)

Whether you have the same partner for years or just a random partner, you should always know when your period is due. However, this will not protect you from any Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Infections – it’s more about knowing your own body and personal care than about safe sex, but it’s still travelers.

If you normally have a regular cycle, then that would be easy, just always mark your calendar with the start and end date of your monthly period. There are also some women who have an irregular period, please go to your OB-GYNE, check your menstrual cycle, understand your body signs and always note them down. There are also some available mobile apps that are currently available that will help you track your periods and make some notes about it.

In my case, it’s so hard to change being a planner-kind of person; I always have a notebook and monthly planner with me – plans, money, to do list and, of course, my monthly period, tracker. Jonathan already knows when I’m going to have my ‘special day,’ he’s aware of the mood swings if nothing else!

3. Get a Contraceptive Implant

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If you don’t want to worry about getting pregnant and still keep an active sex life while traveling, why not get an annual implant from your doctor. This is a small plastic rod (size of a hairpin) that will be inserted in your arm. The implants are progesterone only hormones, so this will stop you from having your monthly period. As a side effect, you may have mood swings, weight gain and other symptoms that you can have with contraceptive pills.

Implants are great when you travel a lot, as you won’t need to keep on taking pills every day and without a risk of forgetting one and increase the chances of you getting pregnant. The contraceptive implants would normally last for two years before you need to have it removed again under local anesthetic.

REMEMBER: Safe sex is just as much about not putting yourself in the position of unplanned pregnancy in a foreign land, as it is about STD’s.

Implants would not protect you from any Sexually Transmitted Diseases or Infections. That’s what condoms are for!

4. Contraceptive Pills

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We all know this! These are your traveling magic tablets that you have to take every day to prevent you from getting pregnant. Contraceptive pills can be a hassle when you are traveling, as you have to remember to take it every day at the same time. So if you are a bit forgetful of things, you might need to re-consider this one.

These set of tablets only comes in 31 pcs. (good for one month), so you need to keep on buying it from your nearest pharmacy wherever you might end up in your trip. So if you end up on an island and run out of your pills supply, you need to have some alternative arrangements to protect yourself.

REMEMBER: Safe sex is just as much about not putting yourself in the position of unplanned pregnancy in a foreign land, as it is about STD’s.

Pills would not protect you from any Sexually Transmitted Diseases or Infections. That’s what condoms are for!

5. Intrauterine System (IUS or IUD)

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This is the tiny T- shaped device that needs to wear into your uterus, so you will have to go to your doctor to have this done. This is ideal for travelers, as this is a plain and easy device and method to use to stop you getting pregnant while you are on the move.

You can have this in copper or plastic made, depends on your preference and this can protect you from getting pregnant from 3 to 5 years.  You just have to be careful as sometimes IUS can sometimes cause irregular bleeding and infections or the possibility of being displaced.

REMEMBER: Safe sex is just as much about not putting yourself in the position of unplanned pregnancy in a foreign land, as it is about STD’s.

IUS would not protect you from any Sexually Transmitted Diseases or Infections. That’s what condoms are for!

6. Hormonal Injections

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What it says on the tin, this is hormones in an injection! You have to have this done every few months, from 8 weeks to 12 weeks. This is commonly called in the Philippines as “injectable.”

If you are traveling around, you might need to keep having this done with the doctors in the city or town you might end up in. You also need to remember when you are due to another injection, so I hope you plan before heading somewhere isolated or rural and far from any health services.

REMEMBER: Safe sex is just as much about not putting yourself in the position of unplanned pregnancy in a foreign land, as it is about STD’s.

Hormone injections would not protect you from any Sexually Transmitted Diseases or Infections. That’s what condoms are for!

7. Emergency Pills or The Morning After Pill

For Female Travelers Safe Sex while Traveling 8Okay! So you had a one-night stand without protection

This can be your life saver from having that little person inside you. This super pill is called by many names, “the day after pill” or “morning after contraception.” which can be taken within 72 hours or 120 hours after you had your unprotected sex, but this is most effective with the 12 hours period after the unprotected sex.

You can get this at the pharmacy. However, availability of this pill may not be available in some places.  If you are traveling, this can be a quick fix but not a long term solution to prevent you from getting pregnant.

REMEMBER: Safe sex is just as much about not putting yourself in the position of unplanned pregnancy in a foreign land, as it is about STD’s.

Emergency Pills would not protect you from any Sexually Transmitted Diseases or Infections. That’s what condoms are for!

8. Contraceptive Cap

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This device is reusable, and this comes in different sizes.  This form of contraception is a DIY; you have to put in 3 hours before you have sex, with the right amount of spermicide.

Ideal when traveling because you can re-use it and you only have to use it when you want or plan to have sex. You don’t need to worry about running out of stocks or need to catch certain plan or schedule a trip to the doctor. However, this can cause certain disadvantages too, the cause of infections or makes you feel uncomfortable.

REMEMBER: Contraceptive Cap would not protect you from any Sexually Transmitted Diseases or Infections.

Always think about your backup plan

So, what would you do if you got pregnant? What would you do if you acquired a sexually transmitted disease? I’m not trying to scare you but always think about what will happen next. Whatever you are doing in your life, there’s always an after effect – good or bad. What would you do if this worst case scenario happened after a drunken night or even after being with your partner for years? Are you ready?

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Jonathan and I have been together for over two years and, of course, being a couple, it’s part of the relationship. We’ve already talked about having children in the future, (I will make them superstars in the Philippines…Kidding!) but not now as we have a lot of plans for just the two of us. We always talk about each other’s needs and health, we try to compromise and are always conscious with all of our actions as it might affect our future.

So before you do anything or make any decisions, please remember always to be AWARE, practice safe sex and please always look after yourself because no one else can help you with your health but you.


  • Please see your OB-GYNE before starting your journey, to clear yourself of any illnesses before you travel.
  • While traveling, tampons are way better and more economical to use than a regular sanitary napkin.
  • Always bring wet wipes with you wherever you go, not all bathrooms have tissue paper.
  • Don’t get too wasted while on the road, and you might do something that you’ll regret afterward.
  • Hooking up while traveling is surprisingly normal but please stay protected and practice safe sex.

Better be safe than sorry!

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4 thoughts on “For Female Travelers: Safe Sex while Traveling

  1. Definitely a good read for all female travelers out there! Practical and helpful even if you’re not a traveler. Thanks for sharing ?

  2. Thank you for writing this article Kach, really learned something from this, good for my future travel plans ?????

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Written by Kach Umandap

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 151 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.